I respect Laura Ashley. Immensely. I’m impressed with how she had a vision and stuck to it. And I’m obsessed with the way a designer who identifies so strongly with Great Britain–she was Welsh, to be fair, but was admittedly inspired by the craftwork on display at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum–could translate her work to an American audience in such a way that scores of women from the East to the West coasts and in between claimed it as their own. In a way, Ashley’s fashions tell the story of the American pioneer woman, don’t they?
To celebrate 60 years of Laura Ashley, it’s fitting that the Fashion Museum in Bath is honoring the designer with an exhibit called “Laura Ashley: The Romantic Heroine.” I wish I could be there, but since I can’t I’m doing the next best thing: searching for Ashley-inspired fashions that can be purchased with the click of a button. And that aren’t quite as, what word am I looking for? Wallpapery? Yes, give me bishop sleeves and leave out the wallpaper, please.
French Connection Floral Shirt Dress, $144.25; Creative Collection Dress, $54.99; Living on a Prairie Skirt, $47.99; Village Prairie Potpourri Dress, $94.99; Vintage Maroon Velvet Dress, $178; Vintage Gunne Sax Quilted Floral Skirt, $168; Prairie Floral Headwrap, $14; 1970s Women’s Prairie Dress, $40.